April 7, 2006

This is a fantastic article. Bill Moyers tells it like it is, and has some answers at the end of the article, so do read the whole thing.

A CULTURE OF CORRUPTION

Let's Save Our Democracy by Getting Money Out of Politics
By Bill Moyers

Money is choking our democracy to death. Our elections are bought out from under us and our public officials are doing the bidding of mercenaries. So powerful is the hold of wealth on politics that we cannot say America is working for all Americans. The majority may support such broad social goals as affordable medical coverage for all, decent wages for working people, safe working conditions, a secure retirement, and clean air and water, but there is no government "of, by, and for the people" to deliver on those aspirations.

Our system of privately financed campaigns has shut regular people out of any meaningful participation in democracy. Less than one-half of one percent of all Americans made a political contribution of $200 or more to a federal candidate in 2004. When the average cost of winning a seat in the House of Representatives has topped $1 million, we can no longer refer to that chamber as "The People's House." Congress belongs to the highest bidder.

At the same time that the cost of getting elected is exploding beyond the reach of ordinary people, the business of influencing our elected representatives has become a growth industry. Since President Bush was elected the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled. That's 16,342 lobbyists in 2000 and 34,785 last year: 65 lobbyists for every member of Congress. The total spent per month by special interests wining, dining, and seducing federal officials is now nearly $200 million. Per month. more...

April 6, 2006

Democrats, liberals, and "progressives": There they go again.
by Jozef Hand-Boniakowski

In a recent give and take email with a liberal, "progressive" Democrat in Vermont, I discovered what Democrats really feel about people who vote for third party candidates, and especially what they feel about Ralph Nader.╩ 2006 is, after all, an election year, and we, the people, must elect Democrats to "take our country back".╩ No?╩ The talk-show hosts say so, especially Air America Radio, so it must be important.╩ The exact line from the email that I received is,╩

I feel it is because people voted for Nader who not only have I lost all respect for, but I think he has a huge ego and now I honestly hate him as much as I hate Bush.

There you have it.╩ Liberal, "progressive" Democrats hate Ralph Nader as much as they hate George W. Bush.╩ Perhaps, some therapy is in order, as hate is a self-destructive emotion if left unchecked.╩ It also does not win elections.╩╩ I'm not, however, surprised at this outpouring of Democratic venom, as liberals and so-called progressives prefer to blame the loss of elections on everybody and everything, except that is, on the lackluster, uninspiring, boring, bumbling, stumbling, and problematic campaigns of their own candidates.╩ Democrats prefer to blame their presidential candidates' ineptitude on others, such as Ralph Nader and the people who voted for him and his platform.╩ Liberal, "progressive", Democrats fail to place the responsibility for getting G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney elected where it belongs, that is, onto the people who actually voted for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney at the polls.╩ The elections of 2000 and 2004 were both the Democrats to lose.╩ And, they lost them both.╩ The reality of the Democratic Party's electoral losses are compounded by its inability to accept responsibility for them.╩ Democrats prefer the blindness of hatred over the reality of their own failures.╩ It was not Ralph Nader's fault that 62,040,606 people voted for Bush and Cheney in 2004.╩ But, damn you Ralph, anyway! more...

April 5, 2006

How the GOP Became God's Own Party
By Kevin Phillips

Now that the GOP has been transformed by the rise of the South, the trauma of terrorism and George W. Bush's conviction that God wanted him to be president, a deeper conclusion can be drawn: The Republican Party has become the first religious party in U.S. history.

We have had small-scale theocracies in North America before -- in Puritan New England and later in Mormon Utah. Today, a leading power such as the United States approaches theocracy when it meets the conditions currently on display: an elected leader who believes himself to speak for the Almighty, a ruling political party that represents religious true believers, the certainty of many Republican voters that government should be guided by religion and, on top of it all, a White House that adopts agendas seemingly animated by biblical worldviews.

Indeed, there is a potent change taking place in this country's domestic and foreign policy, driven by religion's new political prowess and its role in projecting military power in the Mideast.

The United States has organized much of its military posture since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks around the protection of oil fields, pipelines and sea lanes. But U.S. preoccupation with the Middle East has another dimension. In addition to its concerns with oil and terrorism, the White House is courting end-times theologians and electorates for whom the Holy Lands are a battleground of Christian destiny. Both pursuits -- oil and biblical expectations -- require a dissimulation in Washington that undercuts the U.S. tradition of commitment to the role of an informed electorate. more...

April 4, 2006

War: A Theft From Those Who Hunger
by Gilbert Jordan ╩

"I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity."
- - General of the Army D.D. Eisenhower

Several years ago I read about a person commiserating with his friend about a serious medical diagnosis. "How bad is it?" he inquired. "Well, let's put it this way: I've stopped flossing."

That anecdote is a perfect analogy for the quagmire we find ourselves in on the recently observed third anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. That war of choice, not necessity, is a milepost in our growth as an imperial power. It is the natural outcome of a half century of increased militarization, time when we have grown to accept the idea that a substantial portion of our resources must be diverted from human needs to building a military force invincible to challenge.

As is well documented in a new film, "Why We Fight," the current militarization of America had its roots in the Second World War. The film focuses on Dwight Eisenhower's 1961 farewell speech to the nation at the end of his eight-year presidency. In a remarkably prescient warning, he told Americans that for the first time in our history we had produced a permanent arms industry and that "we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society."

What Eisenhower saw 45 years ago has metastasized into a gargantuan military juggernaut whose cost exceeds the arms expenditures of all other nations combined. Eisenhower would be stunned at the growth of this beast now sucking wealth, life, and democracy out of America. It has become the tail that wags the dog, a force so huge and thoroughly ingrained in our culture and political institutions that some believe its dominance has become irreversible. more...

April 3, 2006

Bush's Paper Trail Grows
John Prados

John Prados is a senior fellow of the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C., and author of Hoodwinked: The Documents that Reveal How Bush Sold Us a War

On March 27, The New York Times published╩an article based on access to the full British record of the Iraq policy conversation that President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair held on January 31, 2003, as recorded by BlairÔs then-national security adviser David Manning. British legal scholar Philippe Sands had already revealed this discussion in his book Lawless World , and the British television network Channel 4 had¸two months ago¸printed ╩many of the same excerpts of ManningÔs memo, but the Times coverage focused new attention on the memo, previously ignored by the U.S. media.

The memo reveals that the two leaders agreed that military action against Iraq would begin on a stipulated date in March 2003¸despite the fact that no weapons of mass destruction had been found there. The memo reveals how the two leaders mulled over ways to supply legal justification for the invasion. Indeed this record supplies additional evidence for the view that Bush planned all along to unleash this war.

Suddenly, the media descended upon the Bush White House demanding explanations. Spokesman Scott McClellan answered that Ńwe were preparing in case it was necessary, but we were continuing to pursue a diplomatic solution.ń McClellan tried to turn the question around by insisting that the press had been covering Bush at the time chronicled in the memo, implying that if the truth were different the press should have known better. He referred repeatedly to a December report from U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix to back his assertion that Iraq had failed to cooperate with the inspections. Evidently that cowed the reporters, for there has been little follow-up. But White House damage control should not be allowed to cover up this evidence that the president knew his case for war was based on faulty evidence. more...

April 2, 2006

An Open Letter to New Exxon/Mobil CEO, Rex Tillerson
The Corporate Superpower of Superpowers
By RALPH NADER

Mr. Tillerson:

You have to be feeling pretty good about your new position heading the world's largest oil and gas company. You stand astride the globe where, with few exceptions, the Congress is like putty in your hands, the White House is your House and the consuming public is powerless. Governments in the Third World may huff and puff, but Exxon/Mobil pretty much gets its way in dozens of arrangements completed and about to be concluded.

Seven years ago, your predecessor, Lee Raymond, took over Exxon's main competitor, Mobil Oil Company, through a merger approved by the misnamed Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. Really, what is left of antitrust standards when the number one and number two companies in an industry are permitted to marry?

Profits of your company are beyond your dreams of avarice. Over $36 billion last year, after modest taxes, yet you blithely ignored urgent pleas by members of Congress, especially that of the powerful Chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley (Rep. Iowa) to contribute some significant deductible money to charities which help impoverished American families pay the exorbitant prices for heating oil this past winter. Rarely has there been such a demonstration of corporate greed and insensitivity by a company that has received huge government welfare subsidies, de-regulation and tax expenditures over the years at the expense of the smaller taxpayers of America. more...

April 1, 2006

Bush/NAFTA Summit in Cancun turns Tragic
by Dood Abides

Cancun, Mexico (APE) - Tragically, four Mayan priests were killed today in an ancient purification ceremony gone horribly wrong. They were killed at the summit of the Kukulcan Pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico while performing an ancient ritual in honor of visiting president George Bush which would purge him of "demons and evil".

bush at pyramid
Controversial photo of "purification ceremony" taken by Inquisidor Nationale photographer

The distraught wife of one of the priests later spoke through an interpreter and said: "I had a very bad feeling about this last night, and saw it happening in my dream. I begged my husband not to participate, but he insisted. Clearly they had no idea what they had gotten into."

Witnesses stated that there was a rapid appearance of a huge airborn Demon when the ceremony began. It was observed to suck the life-forces instantly from the priests involved, and then, just as rapidly disappeared. more...
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